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Nov 26, 2015
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Sneak Peek

Sneak Peek: Retreat Gastropub in the Central West End

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015



Lace up your boots and hike over to Retreat Gastropub at 2 N. Sarah St., in the Central West End for elevated pub food in modern rustic terrain. As The Scoop reported in February, Travis Howard owns the urban gastropub getaway, which hosts its grand opening Friday, Oct. 9 at 5 p.m.

The 2,000-square-foot space is dominated by a concrete bar, poured and stained on-premise, and backed by salvaged wood from a Missouri barn. Pull up an iron stool or grab a seat at the custom cedar wood tables and benches lining the interior. Repurposed lantern light fixtures interspersed with hanging Edison bulbs light the space. “I wanted it to feel very outdoorsy,” Howard said.

Howard assembled a team, including chef Michael Friedman and bar manager Tim Wiggins, eager to take the same care with food and drink menus that went into the design. The menu is divided into small plates, sandwiches and large plates, and pub classics include several vegetarian options like the poutine made with fried fingerling potatoes, a rich mushroom gravy and cheese curds. There are two burger options: a classic beef patty with cheese or the Farmhouse Burger, consisting of two smashed beef patties, cheese sauce, candied bacon and an over-easy egg. “I wanted to have breakfast on a burger,” Friedman said.

Wiggins has created a selection of house-made shrubs, tinctures and fresh herbs and juices on a seasonally rotating cocktail menu that focuses on rum. “Everyone drinks whiskey. I think rum’s the next wave,” Wiggins said. Aged sipping rums will be offered instead of dessert wines. Look also for draft and canned beer options, as well as wine.

After its grand opening, Retreat Gastropub will be open Wednesday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and until midnight Sunday. Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect when doors open at Retreat this Friday:


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-photos by Meera Nagarajan



Sneak Peek: Byrd & Barrel in South City

Thursday, September 24th, 2015



Smooth your feathers and grab your appetites on Friday, Sept. 25, when Byrd & Barrel  opens its doors at 3422 S. Jefferson Ave., in St. Louis for flocks of fryer fanatics.

As The Scoop reported in November 2014, Bob Brazell announced his plans to open a fast-casual chicken shack in a former Popeye’s in South City, complete with dine-in and drive-thru options.

Unlike traditional deep-fried chicken, Brazell uses a pressure fryer to quickly fry his buttermilk-marinated fried chicken, available by the piece, bucket or as boneless chicken “nuggz.” Sides include mashed red potatoes and fried chicken gravy, kale cole slaw, Provel mac-n-cheese and house-made tater tots. Wash it all down with one of 11 varieties of Vess soda or a sudsy 58-cans list of beer from 4 Hands to Hamm’s.

While fried chicken dominates the menu, Byrd & Barrel does not put all its eggs in one basket. Start with one of six appetizers featuring everything from fried chicken skins to roasted cauliflower. Sandwiches are also up for grabs, including a fried chicken-liver bahn mi or the larger than life Mother Clucker. Byrd & Barrel will offer daily specials, one of which will be vegetarian or vegan friendly.

The fast-casual eatery just south of Cherokee Street seats about 40 inside at banquets and two bar-style areas; another two dozen spots available outside. Starting Monday, Sept. 28, patrons won’t even have get out of the car to get a fix; a pared-down version of the menu will be available at its drive-thru.

Byrd & Barrel will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Here’s a sneak peek and what to expect when the fryers heat up tomorrow.


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

Sneak Peek: Standard Brewing Co. in Maryland Heights

Friday, September 11th, 2015



Standard Brewing Co. is opening tomorrow, Sept. 12, at 12322 Dorsett Road in Maryland Heights. Fans of the former J2 Brewing will see old friends, as Standard Brewing’s five-person ownership group were all at one time associated with the former Chesterfield shop that closed in June. Jeff Harlan serves as general manager, and Jeff Jones is Standard’s brewmaster.

As The Scoop reported in April, Standard Brewing is located in the old Fuddruckers space on Dorsett Road. The 5,200-square-foot interior seats 125 with an additional 35 on the patio. Pull up a seat at the sprawling bar to order one of the two house beers, Klassisch hefeweizen or Enigma IPA. Jones hopes to have a dry Irish stout and American blonde ale available soon, as well as a seasonal, Belgian-style spiced holiday ale he calls Vom Krampus. The beer averse can select from Standard’s cocktail menu that favors local spirits including Cardinal Sin, Pinckney Bend and Still 630.

Standard has contracted with Pulse Pizza, headed by chef J.R. Gates, for a food menu featuring pizza made with Standard Enigma IPA spent grains, along with salads and sandwiches served with house-made spreads and dressings. Order a sample flight of three 8-inch pizzas or house-made spent grain pretzels with Standard Klassisch beer cheese dipping sauce to accompany your Standard brews.

Standard Brewing’s regular hours will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect when doors open this Saturday.



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-photos by Michelle Volansky 



Sneak Peak: Randolfi’s on The Loop

Friday, August 21st, 2015



Chef Mike Randolph is on the move again. As The Scoop reported in May, chef-owner of Público and Half & Half closed his popular Neapolitan pizzeria, The Good Pie, in June. He opens his new Italian concept Randolfi’s in its place at 6665 Delmar Blvd., Tuesday, Aug. 25.

While the roaring wood-fired pizza oven and imposing marble bar from Good Pie days remain staples of the space, they are now joined by red-checked tablecloths and Randolph family photos hanging on the walls for a more relaxed dining experienced. Taking a lesson from Público, Randolph has created a focused menu of southern Italian dishes that call back to his family’s roots. Look for six antipasti, six pasta dishes, four pizza offerings and four meat or fish dishes that utilize the wood oven still on view in the open kitchen. Portions are smaller; customers are meant to order multiple dishes and share with dining companions.

House-made pasta features prominently on the menu, from slurpable bucatini to hand-rolled gnocchi. Good Pie fans will welcome the return of three classic pizzas (marinara, Margherita and blanca) and a fourth option that will rotate more frequently.

Randolph’s chief barman Jeffery Moll has created a cocktail program focused on classic Italian cocktails like the Negroni and Americano, a collection of his greatest hits (including the Moll’s Cup No. 3) and new creations. Moll also developed three non-alcohol cocktails using house-made shrubs, syrups, herbs and more.

Randolfi’s will be open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m. Here’s a look at what to expect when the door opens next week:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

Sneak Peek: Guerrilla Street Food on South Grand

Monday, July 20th, 2015



Guerrilla Street Food junkies who’ve followed the Filipino food truck since 2011 no longer need to wander the city in search of their favorite roving eatery. Guerrilla Street will open a brick-and-mortar location tomorrow, July 21, at 3559 Arsenal St., near South Grand Boulevard.

Co-owners Joel Crespo and Brian Hardesty have developed a menu that includes traditional and contemporary Filipino mains, sides and snacks. Regulars will notice a number of specials from the food truck – crab ceviche, duck adobo poutine and the fried-chicken delight that is Iron Manok – have been turned into staples at the dine-in establishment. While these dishes fall within the “new school” selection, Guerrilla Street’s half dozen “old school” rice bowl offerings like chicken adobo, beef mechado, and its wildly popular Flying Pig, will appease purists (although the dishes are available wrapped in a burrito). Specials will also include dishes like steamed buns with a rotating filling.

Entrees can be rounded out with a handful of side dishes such as fries made with purple sweet potatoes (ube) or ginataang greens, a Filipino-rendition of creamed spinach prepared with coconut milk. Smaller bites from the merienda, or snacks, board include garlicky roasted peanuts, barbecued pork skewers, a sweet pork sausage (longanista) corn dog and lumpia, Filipino-style egg rolls, available fresh or fried. The indecisive can opt for the dine-in only Kamayan platter: a smorgasbord of 15 items traditionally eaten with fingers.

Diners can wash down the feast with a selection of local Excel sodas or Guerrilla Street’s house-made tropical drinks like the lemonade-esque Calamansi Cooler or the 1-inch Punch, which combines black currant and pineapple juices with coconut milk.

Like the food truck, the 26-seat restaurant is a counter-service eatery. The walls are decked with Filipino artifacts like license plates, a replica battalion flag from its war of independence against Spain and the requisite oversize wooden fork and spoon found in every Filipino kitchen. “We try to take every opportunity to expose people to Filipino culture,” Crespo said.

Diners can get a taste of the Philippines Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Here’s what to expect when doors open tomorrow:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

Sneak Peek: O’Fallon Brewery in Maryland Heights

Monday, June 22nd, 2015



One of St. Louis’ oldest craft breweries finally has a tasting room to welcome thirsty fans. O’Fallon Brewery will open its massive new facility today, June 22, at 45 Progress Parkway in Maryland Heights, just across the way from Westport Plaza.

The 40,000-square-foot building, which once housed a medical supply company, has been renovated to fit the new brewery, as well as the O’Bar Grill and Tap Room, a 130-seat restaurant and tasting room. Unlike most breweries that go for a rustic, homey feel, the new O’Fallon is full of glass walls and sleek, modern lines befitting its new home in a sea of industrial office complexes near Westport Plaza.

As The Scoop reported in February 2014, the new brewery will allow O’Fallon to expand its annual brewing capacity to 25,000 barrels with the ability to double that as needed. This means O’Fallon can move all brewing operations back to the St. Louis area; previously the brewery partnered with Stevens Point Brewery in Wisconsin to produce its bottled and canned beers. Customers will be able to take tours of the new brewery after Labor Day, according to owner Jim Gorczyca.

In the tasting room, 20 taps offer O’Fallon favorites like Zeke’s Pale Ale and Kite Tail. Customers can order full pints or sample a few in a flight of four 5-ounce pours. Chef Greg Heidemann, who previously helmed kitchens at Nordstrom Cafe and Jim Edmonds 15 Steakhouse, has designed a menu that incorporates O’Fallon beer into many of the dishes, like salad dressings made with Wheach and shrimp marinated in 5-Day IPA. With many shareable items and manageable portions, dishes like four baby back ribs, flat breads and 7-ounce burgers are ideally sized for a lunch or happy-hour crowd.

O’Bar will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday and until midnight Thursday to Saturday. Here’s a look at what to expect when the brewery opens for business tonight at 5 p.m.


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 




Sneak Peek: Southern in Midtown

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015



Fried chicken has come home to roost in St. Louis, and chef Rick Lewis is adding to the flock with Southern. As The Scoop reported in March, Lewis left his chef post at Quincy Street Bistro and joined forces with Pappy’s owner Mike Emerson to open a hot chicken spot next door to Emerson’s famed St. Louis barbecue joint. After months of recipe testing, renovations and prep work, Lewis hopes to open doors at 3108 Olive St., in Midtown the week of June 22.

Southern will serve fried chicken in the same vein as Nashville institutions like Hattie B’s and Prince’s. Golden brown pieces of fried chicken fly from the fryer and take a dip in one of three spicy oils (mild, Cluckin’ Hot or General Tso’s) before landing on an aluminum tray. Lewis will offer an assortment of hot chicken plates, serving the fried bird with a slice of white bread to soak up the spicy juices, two sides and house-made pickles. The curious (or chicken-hearted) can also order pieces a la carte.

While Southern’s hot chicken may be the hot topic of the moment, it’s not the only thing Lewis will dish up at this 45-seat, counter-service eatery. Nine hefty sandwiches feature house-made salami, ham, pepperoni, roast beef and even bacon, smoked low and slow in one of Pappy’s four famous smokers next door. Sandwiches are stacked high with cheese, dressings and house pickles between Companion bread. Some sammies, like the Cubano, are griddled to melted goodness on the large flattop.

An array of snacks is available, too, including deviled eggs filled with house pimento cheese, a spread of house-made pickled vegetables, and a butcher board of house-cured meats. Rotating daily dessert specials will include fried hand pies, banana pudding and ice cream sandwiches from Dogtown bakery Sugaree.

When doors open, the lunch-time eatery will fire up the fryers from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect when Southern opens doors.



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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

Sneak Peek: Tazé Mediterranean Street Food

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015




Brothers Casey and Justin Roth have worked for nearly two years to develop their fast-casual restaurant concept, Tazé Mediterranean Street Food. A multi-continent food research trip and construction behind them, the Roths and chef Matt Borchardt are ready to dish up gyros, kebabs, hummus, baba ghanoush and other Mediterranean classics in the Mercantile Exchange building at 626 Washington Ave. Doors open to the public June 8.

The Tazé menu centers around a build-your-own meal concept. Customers select a warm house-made pita or a bowl of saffron rice or mixed greens, which is filled with their choice of sliced gyro meat; locally sourced chicken, beef or pork kebabs cooked in a tandoor oven; or vegetarian options such as portobello mushrooms or falafel. It is all topped with fresh fixings – tomato, onion, olives, cucumber, feta and more – then drizzled with house-made sauces like harissa or tahini. The $9 meal includes one of a dozen side dishes and one of five varieties of house-made hummus.

One could easily make a meal of the sides alone, which include mostly vegan options like stuffed grape leaves, grain-based salads and hand-cut french fries. Among house-made desserts are the requisite baklava, Greek yogurt popsicles and cookies like a snickerdoodle scented with the Moroccan spice blend ras al-hanout. Tazé will also have a selection of prepackaged hummus, salads and other grab-and-go options for the diner on the move.

The restaurant, which will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., will also offer a separate happy hour food menu from 4 p.m. to close. Look for options like meatballs with tzatziki and skewered shrimp. Besides fountain soda and bottled juices, the 21-and-older crowd can pick from six local craft beers on draft or 14 wines (primarily from Italy, Spain and France) by the glass.

Here’s what to expect when Tazé opens next Monday:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

Sneak Peek: Clementine’s Creamery in Lafayette Square

Thursday, May 14th, 2015




Just in time for summer, Clementine’s Creamery is set to scoop at 1637 S. 18th St. The new Lafayette Square ice cream shop celebrates its grand opening Saturday, May 16 at noon.

Owner Tamara Keefe has crafted and peddled her rich ice creams in St. Louis since August 2014, and nearly 20 St. Louis-area restaurants including Old Standard Fried Chicken, Cleveland-Heath and Pi Pizza feature them on menus. Now, customers can snatch up “naughty” (alcohol-infused) and “nice” (non-alcoholic) creations any time at the petite 550-square-foot shop.

Clementine’s will offer a rotating selection of 24 regular and seasonal flavors, made ultra-creamy thanks to a high 16- to 18-percent butterfat content. Choose from seven to eight boozy flavors like the Old-Fashioned or a Moscow Mule, or try a nice option like Salted Crack Caramel or Manchego with Truffles. Keefe will also feature one rotating vegan option, like chocolate coconut fudge made with coconut milk.

Mix and match two, three or five flavors and pop them into a house-made waffle cone or bowl. DIY sundaes will see unique toppings for customers’ creamy creations, too, like candied bacon and honey-roasted pistachios and sauces like house-made hot fudge or lemon-infused olive oil.

Keefe has partnered with several area businesses for her flavors. Gooey butter cake from Lafayette Square neighbor Park Avenue Coffee makes an appearance in one non-alcoholic creation, while the Belgian Beauty features with Perennial Artisan Ale’s Saison de Lis.

Other offerings at Clementine’s include affogatos, ice cream sandwiches made with macarons from La Patisserie Chouquette and the Lava Love, a decadent dessert of molten lava cake from Whisk topped with a scoop of ice cream and hot fudge.

Curious customers can get an early taste tonight, May 14 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. After doors officially open on Saturday, Clementine’s will operate from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Here’s what to expect at St. Louis’ newest ice cream shop:


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-photos by Meera Nagarajan

Sneak Peek: Público

Thursday, February 26th, 2015



Nearly one year ago, restaurateur Mike Randolph announced his plans to open South American gastropub Público at 6679 Delmar Blvd., just doors from his Neopolitan pizzeria The Good Pie in The Loop. The wait for the wood-fired cantina is nearly over; Público opens doors for dinner March 3.

The menu is divided into crudo (raw), botanas (snacks), tacos, arepas (corn pancakes), parrilla (grill items) and desserts. In the raw section, look for appetizers like oysters and tiradito, a Peruvian dish of raw fish similar to sashimi served with a spicy aji pepper sauce. Botanas range from El Tri, a trio of house-made dips and salsas served with corn flatbread, to jalapeno soup with smoked trout. Diners can expect tacos with fillings such as seared shrimp, smoked chorizo, carnitas and carne asada on stone-ground corn tortillas made in-house. A custom-built open-wood hearth that also has smoking capabilities will turn out everything from Argentinian-style steak to whole grilled snapper. Although menu items cap at $15, expect an elevated presentation reminiscent of Randolph’s former restaurants-within-a-restaurant, Little Country Gentleman and Medianoche.

On the beverage side, bar manager Nick Diogiovanni will put rum, tequila and mezcal center stage. A frozen drink machine will also churn out a rotation of boosy slushes like Fernet and Coke. The wine list will focus on South American and Spanish wines, along with cellar wines (that include an extensive riesling selection from Little Country Gentleman days).

SPACE Architects + Design renovated the former hair salon, which now offers seating for 60 guests at a bar, a wall of booths, a 10-seat community table and a few stools along the counter next to the open kitchen.

Here’s what to expect when Público unlocks doors March 3:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky

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